Peter Robinson condemns north Belfast riots

5 September 2012
Peter Robinson: "The issues will only be resolved on the basis of there being mutual respect"

NI First Minister Peter Robinson has condemned those involved in violence and breaking the law in north Belfast.

Mr Robinson said he and the deputy first minister were determined to try to find a solution to the parading disputes which sparked the trouble.

He said proposals the DUP and Sinn Fein put forward two years ago held the key to a new era on parading.

Mr Robinson had faced criticism for failing to make a public statement in response to the violence.

However, he insisted his role was to ensure nothing contributed to the difficulties and suggested others should take a step back and say less.

He said people could make their own judgements about engaging in civil disobedience, but it should always be an alternative to violence not something that leads to violence.

'Re-routed and banned'
Mr Robinson said he wanted to see the end of the Parades Commission.

He was, however, encouraged to hear that residents of the Catholic Carrick Hill area did not want to see parades rerouted and banned.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the recent scenes in north Belfast had been "deplorable, disgraceful and shameful".

"This is a time for leadership. This is a time for people to stand together against violence and particularly for the Loyal Orders to show leadership, and I think there's been a distinct lack of leadership from them over the course of recent times," he said.

"The Parades Commission have made determinations in the past that I have not been happy with, but I have abided with the decisions they have made.

"It's incumbent upon everybody, the loyal orders, politicians of all descriptions, to stand by the rule of law."

Mr Robinson and the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will meet North Belfast politicians at Stormont later as a first step towards trying to find a solution.


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